Continued evolution of H5N1 influenza viruses in wild birds, domestic poultry, and humans in China from 2004 to 2009.J Virol 2010; 84(17):8389-97JV
Despite substantial efforts to control H5N1 avian influenza viruses (AIVs), the viruses have continued to evolve and cause disease outbreaks in poultry and infections in humans. In this report, we analyzed 51 representative H5N1 AIVs isolated from domestic poultry, wild birds, and humans in China during 2004 to 2009, and 21 genotypes were detected based on whole-genome sequences. Twelve genotypes of AIVs in southern China bear similar H5 hemagglutinin (HA) genes (clade 2.3). These AIVs did not display antigenic drift and could be completely protected against by the A/goose/Guangdong/1/96 (GS/GD/1/96)-based oil-adjuvanted killed vaccine and recombinant Newcastle disease virus vaccine, which have been used in China. In addition, antigenically drifted H5N1 viruses, represented by A/chicken/Shanxi/2/06 (CK/SX/2/06), were detected in chickens from several provinces in northern China. The CK/SX/2/06-like viruses are reassortants with newly emerged HA, NA, and PB1 genes that could not be protected against by the GS/GD/1/96-based vaccines. These viruses also reacted poorly with antisera generated from clade 2.2 and 2.3 viruses. The majority of the viruses isolated from southern China were lethal in mice and ducks, while the CK/SX/2/06-like viruses caused mild disease in mice and could not replicate in ducks. Our results demonstrate that the H5N1 AIVs circulating in nature have complex biological characteristics and pose a continued challenge for disease control and pandemic preparedness.